Top 12 common questions that are actually racist: What you shouldn’t say to a mixed girl


Alexis Pragides

Some things are better left unsaid. Mimi Nieves explains her Top 12 most common questions she has been asked as a multiracial female.

Growing up I have been asked some of the craziest things you could possibly imagine about my race and ethnicity, a perk to being mixed. Not only are these questions triggering but have shaped my journey of finding my identity. These are the top 12 questions I have been asked:

#12: “Were your grandparents O.K. with it?”
I have gotten this question enough times that I have actually wanted to ask my grandparents if they were O.K. with my existence. Like, yes, but also if it was a no, do you really think I would share that with you? People who ask this just want to hear a crazy story, so I give them one. Don’t judge.

#11: “Are your parents still together?”
I do not get the point someone is trying to make with this question. Should I feel offended or left
out that my parents are not together? You tell me.

#10: “I knew I saw ____ in you!”
Most of the time I can tell they are lying because no one ever believes I am what I say I am. I feel like people just say that so I won’t get offended, but I end up getting offended.

#9: “No I mean where are you really from?”
I am from Chicago, and just because I am mixed does not mean I am from some crazy place.

#8: “How can you be from Nigeria and Mexico?”
You would be surprised how many people actually think this. I get this a lot and can never hide my face from laughing.

#7: “I thought you were white.”
To be clear, not every mixed person is white or black. I am an Nigerian and Mexican — I know some Egyptian Nigerians, Asian and Black and so many more combinations that make them all the more beautiful.

#6: “You have ‘good hair’… what are you mixed with?”
This comment is just rude. You can have “good hair” and not be mixed. Please be more cautious of what you say.

#5: “You’re so exotic!”
Whenever someone says this now I just think of Joe Exotic and instantly become offended.

#4: “Are you sure that’s what you are?”
Yeah, I am sure. Do not make me question my identity even more than I already have.

#3: “Can I touch your hair?”
I am not an animal and no you cannot touch my hair. That’s just weird.

#2: “What are you?”
What am I, are you asking what my race or ethnicity is? Please learn the difference and ask again. My ethnicities are Nigerian and Mexican, but I racially identify as Black.

#1: “You’re not black enough.”
I have been told this more times than I can count, and it hurts a little more every time. There is no real point of saying this so don’t say it.

What makes these questions triggering is the ignorance behind them. It is hard not to be offended when there is no real point to the question or statement. They all have shaped the way I view myself and my journey of finding my identity.

There is a lot more that comes to being mixed. People are not just comfortable with multiple things going on at the same time. Everyone wants one clear way and nothing too confusing.

Caring around the constant weight of society pushing you to decide takes a toll on your self identity. Comments like these do not make the process any better. Be careful of what question you ask next, it may create a bigger problem in someone’s journey of finding their identity then you think it will.